SHRM Code of Ethical and Professional Standards in Human Resource Management

As the world's largest human resource management association, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has a responsibility to set and support ethical standards for the human resource profession. Our Bylaws (Section 3) state that, "The purposes of the Society shall be to promote the use of sound and ethical human resource management practices in the profession…to be the voice of the profession on human resource management issues …to facilitate the development and guide the direction of the human resource profession …and to establish, monitor and update standards for the profession." Our original Code of Ethics was first developed in 1972 and was last modified in 1989 to reflect our name change from the American Society for Personnel Administration to our current name.

This package includes a new Code of Ethical and Professional Standards in Human Resource Management. The Code was written entirely by SHRM members and volunteer leaders with the assistance of the Ethics Resource Center (ERC) and SHRM staff. The ERC is a non-profit, nonpartisan educational organization located in Washington, DC. Hundreds of members and leaders shared in the process through focus groups and individual interviews representing a cross-section of our membership, participation on code development teams, and by providing feedback on code drafts.

This Code of Ethical and Professional Standards in Human Resource Management is one part of an overall ethics initiative undertaken by SHRM. The Code will be supplemented by resources and services which SHRM members can use to promulgate ethics programs within their own organizations or chapters. Communications and Education strategies for initial and continuous training will be put into place as well as an infrastructure for enforcement and advice/counseling.

The standards outlined in our new Code of Ethical and Professional Standards in Human Resource Management, together with integrated ethics program components, are designed to provide guidance and support in your daily work.


Introduction to Code of Ethics

Nearly 340,000 members SHRM members around the globe look to the Society for their vision and their values. In this role, SHRM assumes a responsibility to serve its members and the public with integrity. To fulfill this responsibility, SHRM is committed to conducting all operations in accordance with the SHRM code of ethics.

SHRM’s Bylaws

Our Bylaws are the Society’s Operating Manual. They define:

  • Composition of the Board of Directors and how it will function;
  • Roles and duties of directors and officers;
  • Rules and procedures for holding meetings, electing directors, and appointing officers;
  • Conflict of interest policies and procedures; and
  • Other essential association governance matters.

SHRM Bylaws